Friday, December 7, 2012

Form and Material

A previous post spoke of simplicity and showed a penciled beech tree drawing that I really liked. I thought it would be good to post more like that just because of the spare approach. I also thought, except for that recent one, that I'd shown too few trees lately so went through my files and found a real surprise, - No Trees!  Well, at least no more in pencil.  I must have been into pen & ink for a lot longer than I thought, - plenty of those! Among them, these great old maples, two of several bordering the drive of a wonderful Maine B&B where we vacationed many years ago. I spent a couple of hours in soft summer shade picturing these two aged guardians with a very fine pen. I didn't draw the horses eyeing me from the fenced pasture beyond but they were a lovely addition to a productive afternoon.

Without a tree in pencil, these graphite gloves, preliminary practice for a planned series of twenty years ago, will do to compare the natures of the two media, - the thin hard line of ink vs. the broader soft graphite.  I'd finished a couple of the series pieces when life got a little hairy and I put them aside to make room for recovery.  Neither of those is small enough for inclusion here but no matter, the pencil in this drawing is just what I wanted to present. The work is loose enough to be interesting and well enough controlled to describe the subject.

Looking back now, I wonder how I would have handled those trees if I'd had a pencil in hand rather than a pen.  Ink certainly can be looser than that above but still, today, I gravitate toward the simpler pencil drawing where the few details are nice contrast in the supple surfaces.  The penciled glove drawing is more abstract, so more contemporary and shows a better appreciation for form. The trees are an example of a tight working method I used for years, - nice in its attention to texture but now somehow "dated" in its fussiness.

Each of these materials have positive aspects. Work with both, either, or any other you find interesting.  Work with media you truly love, explore its breadth and become master of its depth!

"Every master knows that the material teaches the artist."   Ilya Ehrenberg

" 'Scenes' are temporary; form is eternal."   Lynda Lehmann

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